THE USER INTERFACE OF CURRENT OPERATING SYSTEMS
UŽIVATELSKÉ ROZHRANÍ SOUČASNÝCH OPERAČNÍCH SYSTÉMŮ
Prof. Ing. Imrich Rukovanský, CSc
Department of Logistics and technical disciplines, College of Logistics in Přerov
Ing. Libor Kavka, PhD
Department of Logistics and technical disciplines, College of Logistics in Přerov
We are currently witnessing an unprecedented boom in the development of operating
systems, whether for desktop or smart phones, that consistently brings new possibilities of
usage for computer operators. In order the users are able to apply the maximum extent of the
provided computers functions, tools - called user interface - are embedded between the user
and operating systems (OS). The user interface enables clear and effective utilization of
computational resources of the machine and it differs for the individual operating systems.
V současné době jsme svědky nebývalého rozmachu rozvoje operačních systémů ať již
desktopových, nebo smartphonových, které trvale přináší nové a nové možnosti využití pro
uživatele počítače. Aby uživatel byl schopen v maximální míře uplatnit operačním systémem
nabízené funkce počítače, jsou zpravidla mezi uživatele a OS vloženy prostředky - zvané
uživatelské rozhraní - umožňující přehledné a efektivní využití výpočetních kapacit stroje.
Uživatelské rozhraní se u jednotlivých operačních systémů liší.
User interface, operating system, WIMP, Metro, Aero, Aqua, Symbian OS, Android,
Uživatelské rozhraní, operační systém, WIMP, Metro, Aero, Aqua, Symbian OS, Android,
User interface – UI on the PC is usually a set of certain displays and controls that the
user uses for clearly control of the course of the entire system. The operating system provides
the basic services of the user interface for communication with the user.
Communication in relation with the human being – the computer running through the
user interface is interactive in nature, as the user enters inputs which are to be executed by the
computer (tasks, requirements) and the computer evaluates the optimal outputs which are
presented through the user interface towards the user (executing of the action, starting /
The user interface significantly affects how the system will be successful and useful.
Within the text UI, interaction takes place through the commands of the defined language that
the user must master (e.g. a command line). Graphical UI facilitates the user work with the
program through the graphical presentations such as windows, dialog boxes, icons, menus,
and other graphical elements; the user does not have to know the commands and their syntax
to communicate with a computer.
The voice user interface uses a user´s voice input through a natural language and the
system responds to them by the output in the audio form. The Braille line is one of the output
devices which are used by blind users working by touching and hearing. The information is
displayed using the Braille alphabet and the most commonly used variant is the eight points
one (this is due to the single character compatible with one byte). There are still a number of
other specific interfaces which hereafter will not be analysed.
2. TYPES OF USER INTERFACES
2.1 The graphical user interface
The Graphical User Interface (GUI) is a user interface that allows you to control the
computer using interactive graphical controls. The user uses the keyboard, mouse, touchpad
input and graphical elements such as menus, icons, buttons, scroll bars, forms and others.
Through the use of icons and other auxiliary elements the device on which the interface is,
can comfortably be used by any user.
GUI is usually used in computers, mp3 players, portable multimedia players, mobile
phones, digital cameras or cameras, gaming devices and navigation devices, etc. GUI
provides a consistent visual language that represents information stored on your computer. It
enables the users with less computer knowledge to use the computer software and even the
entire operating system in an easy way. WIMP (Windows Icons Menus Pointing device) is the
most common combination of these elements in a graphical user interface technology. These
elements are usually embedded in the system by widgets.
The basis of today's user interface is the concept of the main means of interaction
between the user and the computer abbreviated WIMP - which is a technology that allows
controlling the computer using the elements.
Window (s). In computer terms, with this expression, we call the area that shows the
output data from the computer and at the same time they allow the user to control running
processes. The term window is mainly used in conjunction with a graphical computer output
that makes it possible to communicate with the computer using a cursor controlled by a
computer mouse or other pointing device.
Pointing device (s). Commonly, this involves a computer mouse or touchpad.
Sometimes the letter P is used for the word „program“.
Widget (s) - is the basic element of the computer for the interaction of the program
with the user. The control element is visually designed and is typically used to manipulate the
data in the program. Various implementations of these basic elements are usually bundled in
the widget toolkit that programmers use to create the user interface. A similar concept (but in
a different way) provides desktop widget which is a small specialized GUI application that
provides some visual information or offers easy access to frequently used features and
applications, such as displaying a clock, calendar, news, calculator, weather forecast, etc.
Nowadays, the GUI is known to most people primarily as a system of Microsoft
Windows family or Mac OS X used on computer systems, notebooks, or like Symbian,
BlackBerry OS, Android, Windows Phone, Palm OS / Web OS used for mobile devices. [7, 8,
2.2 Text user interface
Text User Interface (TUI) is the user interface that represents an intermediate step
between a command line interface (CLI) and graphical user interface (GUI). It works in the
text mode, where the screen is divided into a fixed grid (columns and rows), while in each
position at most one character from a given set (ASCII, EBCDIC, etc.) can be displayed.
Using special characters (parts of the frame, the mouse pointer) the similar control elements
as in the GUI are designed, so the environment contains windows, menus, buttons, sliders,
scrolling lists, and more common elements in the GUI. 
2.3 Command line interface
Command Line Interface (CLI) is the interface in which the user communicates with
programs or operating system by writing commands in the command line. Unlike a text user
interface and a graphical one, it does not use a mouse or menu and it cannot work with the
whole screen (terminal). The users type the command, which should be executed, and then
they press the key “Enter“. After the key “Enter” has been pressed the command will be
executed and the computer will display the result. 
3. THE USER INTERFACE MICROSOFT WINDOWS
Windows 1.0 – provided a simple graphical interface in which most programs
originally designed for DOS could have been run.
Windows 2.0 emerged later.
Windows 3.0 and 3.1 - brought an improved user interface and CPU utilization. The
programs written for MS-DOS could have been run in the window. The opening of
applications with the help of the command line has been replaced by the opening of programs
via File Manager based on icons, which resulted in an easier start of programs. The system
includes a simple aplications such as Word, Painting and Calculator.
Graphical superstructure for Microsoft Windows 3.1x provides a graphical user
interface that allows to represent programs as icons and to ensure that they are easy to run by
users. The programs present their output in windows and there are buttons, input fields, menu
controlled by a computer mouse.
In 1995, Windows 95 comes and brings the change of the appearance of the graphical
interface, which brought more intuitive control and the higher interest of users. Windows 95
also included support for TCP / IP, which meant direct access to the Internet without auxiliary
installations and the ability to detect and to configure new hardware connected to the PC
automatically. (Plug and Play - used till nowadays).
The next release of the Windows 98 (1998) added support for USB, automatic
updating of the computer, Internet Explorer 4.01, the Quick Launch toolbar and more.
Windows ME (Millennium Edition) - It is more or less improving existing Windows
98 and it is the last system running as an extension of the MS-DOS. It assumes the new look
of Windows 2000 and some new functions such as Universal Plug-and-Play, System File
Protection and Automatic Updates. In order to make the user interface more pleasant it
contains (compared to Windows 2000) some other application or functions (Internet Explorer
5.5, Windows Media Player 7, Windows Movie Maker ...)
Windows XP - (2001). It is designed for general use at home or business personal
computers, laptops and media centers. The acronym "XP" refers to experience. Windows XP
have the modified appearance of the graphical user interface and a redesigned Start menu.
Number of other items (different control panels, the login screen) was also adapted. The
possibility of fast switching of users, function of remote assistance, integrated support for
burning CD / DVD and others were included. 
Windows Vista - (2007). The designation „vista” means views (one of the definitions
is a mental view of a succession of remembered or anticipated events). In the basic structure
of the operating system there were implemented major substantial adjustments, which include,
inter alia, new graphics and audio subsystem, better support for software installation. The
completely redesigned graphical interface called Aero appears in Windows Vista and it uses
3D computer graphics. It supports transparency of windows and menus, three-dimensional
animation, icons tailored to a higher resolution, etc. In Windows Vista the completely new
implementation of a set of computer network protocols is covered. It contains more complete
IPv6 support, the built-in support for burning DVDs, enhanced file encryption, etc. [1, 2, 13]
The operating system Windows 8 is the successor to Windows 7; it was introduced in
2012 as the newest OS from Microsoft. It is designed for use in desktops and portable
computers including tablets. The version of 32-bit and 64-bit for the processors x86 and
version for ARM processors used in mobile devices have been released. The Windows 8 is
based on Modern User Interface Metro. It is an environment that seems to be rather more for
the control of mobile devices - mobile phones and tablets. As a result, it is often the target of
because it does not enable to work with more applications simultaneously (multitasking) as comfortably as it is in the Aero. In the system applications the pull-down menu
Ribbon has been extended and it is to replace the classic text menu and it has already been
used in some applications of Windows. [4, 14, 15]
4. LINUX OPERATING SYSTEM
This is an operating system based on the principles of Unix systems. It is freeware so
you can freely use, modify, and distribute it. There are many Linux distributions such as Suse,
Ubuntu, Fedora, Redhat. According to the chosen distribution it is necessary to apply the
Most distributions, however, offer both textual and graphical installation.
With installation we usually install not only the operating system itself, but also all the
software needed to use the computer. The installation usually takes place in a few steps.
The programs installation in Linux (in general) is fundamentally different from the
way of installing programs in Windows. You do not have to browse through the websites of
the programs and look for the installation files. In Linux there are some sort of central
software libraries and programs that can work with these libraries.
Software Centre is an essential tool for installing and removing programs. Its interface
is very simple and easy and even the novice will learn to work with it very quickly.
The installation package (in Ubuntu suffix is .deb). It is similar to the setup of exe file
in Windows and it contains the programs of the file.
Source repository is mostly on the Internet and it contains hundreds of thousands of
packages (Ubuntu contains several tens of thousands). Sources are designed to suit a specific
issue and allow the system easy to install and update all the installed programs.
In Linux there is the super user called the root. An administrator in Windows is a
version of the root as the administrator of the computer can do absolutely anything, its routine
use is very dangerous; just misspell a command may crash the whole system. In some cases it
is necessary to use the root account but in most cases –for the classic work the ordinary user is
enough. By default, the root account is locked. Computer Management can be performed by a
user created during the installation (that is the first created user) using the sudo command.
The user interface in Linux is based on commands. Almost every guide you find here
contains instructions to run a command. To run the commands, there is a program called
Terminal. The terminal is also often called the command line, shell or console.
To work with the command line does not require any special knowledge; it's like any
other program. In Linux, most things can be done from the command line. Although most
applications have a graphical interface, sometimes it is just not enough. Using the command
line is often faster and easier than a graphical interface.
It is worth installing a file manager (Midnight Commander-MC), which runs in text
mode. It contains a lot of functions, including a built-in text editor, support for FTP, SSH,
browsing files, etc. It can also be useful in the case that you are unable to start the graphical
A graphical file manager (Nautilus) serves for the work with files. It can be run
immediately after installation with double-click the icon on its home folder in the sidebar.
Working in Nautilus is very intuitive as you are basically just dragging the icon with the
mouse and clicking. Nautilus creates live previews of text files, images, videos and
documents. It can work with bookmarks, can connect and disconnect the archives, restore
files from the bin. It supports intelligent selection and copy files, plugins and others. [3, 6]
5. USER INTERFACE MAC OS X
Apple’s Mac OS X has been the latest operating system for Macintosh computers
since 2001. Earlier - since 1984 Apple had used Mac OS for its Macintosh computers.
The current system originated as a combination of several different technologies. The
base of the system is called Darwin (OS of UNIX mode with open source code from Apple
Inc.) and it is composed by a hybrid core Unix-like type XNU along with BSD (Berkeley
Software Distribution), GNU and other open source tools. Above the core there is a set of
libraries, services and technologies that are taken mostly from the previous operating system
The graphical user interface is called Aqua and it was developed by Apple Company.
Mobile phone Apple iPhone, multimedia handheld iPod touch and iPod tablet use the
corrected version of Mac OS X named iOS.
Mac OS X is fully adapted to Macintosh computers. Although the Mac can run
Windows, the reverse is not possible. The Apple policy - the development of the hardware
and software eliminates the problem of incompatibility. Apple does not intend to allow
running Mac OS X on a PC (x86-based computer that is not electronically identified as a
Mac). However, it is possible to run (illegally) operating system Mac OS X on some PC. 
6. OPERATING SYSTEMS FOR MOBILE PHONES
The first operating system in mobile phones Symbian was from the same named
company, which was later taken over by Nokia. It appears in several versions for touch
phones. In the newer touch phones the version Symbian Anna was widespread and it was then
replaced by another version under the name Nokia Belle.
Approximately five years later after Symbian, the platform Android developed by
Google comes into the world. This is an operating system designed for mobile phones and
also for the tablet computer. The mobile phones use most widely the version 2.3 called
Gingerbread and 4.2 Jelly Bean. The versions are particularly dependent on the hardware of
The newest currently available operating system for mobile phones is Windows
Phone. It was released in late 2010 by Microsoft.
Each operating system has its advantages and disadvantages as well as supporters and
opponents. [17, 18, 19]
The actual operating system Nokia Belle came after a big revolution and the entry of
Android, which is largely reflected in its arrangement. While previous versions of Symbian
Anna and the older ones inherit properties and approach of the original contactless version of
Symbian, Nokia Belle approached rather the form of Android, both with a drop down menu
similar to Android and the layout of the main menu and other features. However, it regards
only the visual aspects of the interface, the gestures and methods of control are typically
Symbian was harmed by his initial standoff; development of application was available
only to those who purchased an expensive license and development kit. Opening the system in
2010 came too late and the market share declined in favour of Android and Apple. Despite of
that, it is a good operating system and it still has its place in the mobile market, although it
was crossed by the entry of Windows Phone as the main operating system for Nokia
Currently Nokia Belle is available on phones Nokia N8, E7, 603, 701 and 808
PureView. [20, 21]
Android is a comprehensive open source platform, which was created especially for
mobile devices (smart phones, PDA, navigation, tablets). It includes an operating system
based on Linux kernel, middleware, user interface and applications.
Android has been developed by the consortium of Open Handset Alliance, whose
members include software companies such as eBay Inc., Google Inc., Myriad, telecom
operators: China Telecommunications Corporation, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Telefónica,
TELUS, Vodafone and also manufacturers of mobile devices, such as Acer Inc., Dell,
FUJITSU LIMITED, HTC Corporation, Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology Ltd.,
LG Electronics, Inc., Motorola, Inc., Samsung Electronics, Sony Ericsson and others.
Android OS has five-layer architecture. The lowest layer of the architecture is the
kernel of the operating system, which forms a layer between the hardware and the software.
Because of the relative easy applications on different devices the Linux was selected for the
kernel and it uses many of its properties, the support for the memory management, the
network management, the built-in control or management processes.
The lowest layer of the architecture is the operating system kernel, which forms an
abstraction layer between the used hardware and the rest of the software in higher layers. The
core of Android is based on Linux version 2.6; its features, such as support for memory
management, network management, built-in control or management processes, such as
running parallel applications that run as separate processes with permissions set by the
The next layer are libraries that are written in C or C + + code and they use the various
components of the system. For example, Media Libraries that supports playback of video and
audio formats as well image files such as MPEG4, H.264, MP3, AAC, AMR, JPG, and PNG.
The next layer contains the application virtual machine that has been developed
specifically for the Android by the team at Google. The basic libraries of the Java
programming language are also included in this layer.
Application Framework layer is the most important for developers. It provides access
to a large number of services that can be used directly in applications. These services enable
to access data in other applications, user interface elements, advisory status bar, and the
applications running in the background, the hardware of the used equipment and many other
services and features.
Basic applications that the ordinary users use to create the highest layer of the system.
The application may be pre-installed or subsequently downloaded from the Android Market.
For example, e-mail client, SMS program, calendar, maps, browser, contacts, and other
applications of the "third" parties, too.
OS Android is currently available on many devices of different manufacturers; the
most significant are Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony Ericsson, Google, ZTE and many others.
Moreover, it also occurs on computer tablets and further expansion of market share is
expected in the future. [22, 23, 24]
The seventh version of the operating system for Apple devices, called iOS7 has been
launched and for the testing partners even the third beta version of iOS is introduced.
Originally, this system was called iPhone OS till its fourth version. It is a UNIX-like
type that does not have all the functionalities of OS X, but adds the support of touch control.
The system consists of four layers. The first is Cocoa Touch with frameworks for
development of applications. Media layer, which is the second layer, allows creating complex
graphics and audio applications. The third layer Core Service offers high-level services to
make payments within the application for additional content, or cancelling ads, to track the
current location of the user. The last layer Core of OS provides the low-level functions to
Design of the Apple’s mobile system was based on the assumption that graphics
applications should be as the real objects. Are application of calendars so far in the iOS
looked like a real leather calendar, application for notes management looked like a block,
contact management looked like a traditional machine directory.
Apple kept this approach for a long time. In the version iOS7 it got rid of all shadows
and other graphic fancies and succumbed to the spirit of minimalism. Apple has improved its
multitasking; new intelligent grasp of several concurrently running applications and according
to the application allocates the processing power.
Most users say that Apple is more intuitive and easier to learn. It looks after the
standard of design, which is reflected for example through the icons of the same size, as if
they match one another. It offers immediately high functionality. On the other side, Android is
suitable for those who like playing with the phone. It offers a lot of possibilities for
experimentation and adjusting so that each user can create a system according his/her
With iOS you are sure that nearly 85 % of users are using the latest version of the
operating system, so there are no problems with backward compatibility. The disadvantage is
the need to learn the programming language Objective-C which has hardly any utilization
except iOS application. The programmer must also consider the rules and approval process
for each application. [25, 26, 27]
6.4 Windows phone
It is the youngest of the mentioned operating systems. Like other operating systems
from Microsoft, it is a system with a proprietary license and the source code therefore is not
accessible for free. On the other hand, the Microsoft released the development environment
and distribution of application goes through Microsoft's certification process. This increases
the security of the system and also ensures a certain level of applications quality.
Regarding the actual user interface, you can see a large degree of unification. All the
control elements are the same across all phones and the user can adapt only a few properties
of the phone. On the one hand, it is advantageous since the user can pick up any phone with
Windows Phone and he/she will be able to use it instantly. On the other hand, it is basically
restricting his freedom in modifying the interface to own image. [5, 28]
As already mentioned, the user interface gives the user the means to take full
advantage of the possibilities of the computer system. The efforts of all manufacturers, both
laptop and mobile device, is to get as many customers as possible. Competition and
continuous comparison will continue in the future. The field where these actions take place
will also expand. The car industry may be the examples of the combat of various platforms.
Apple announced a partnership with BMW, Mercedes, Honda, GM and others to develop a
system for dashboard computer that would take care of multimedia, maps and
communication. Audi is planning a similar activity, although it chose the Android platform.
Hyundai plans the use of smart glasses from Google to unlock or start a car.
 BITTO, O.; JANEČEK, V.: Windows Vista. - Praha: Computer Press, 2010. 336 s. ISBN
 CAFOUREK, B.: Windows 7. - Praha: Grada, 2010. 326 s. ISBN 978-80-247-3209-1.
 JELÍNEK, L.: Jádro systému Linux, Kompletní průvodce programátora. - Praha:
Computer Press, 2008. 688 s. ISBN 978-80-251-2084-2.
 PACINOVSKÝ, J.: Windows 8. - Praha: Grada, 2012. 128 s. ISBN 978-80-247-4338-7.
 VÁVRŮ, J.: iPhone. - Praha: Grada, 2012. 179 s. ISBN 978-80-247-4457-5.
 WELSH, M.; KAUFMAN, L.: Používáme Linux. - Praha: Computer Press, 1997. 680 s.
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Uživatelské rozhraní. [online]. - 2012 [cit. 2012-12-30].
Dostupné z: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/U%C5% BEivatelsk%C3%A9
 Root.cz Seriál Historie vývoje grafického uživatelského rozhraní. [online]. 2012 [cit.
2012-12-30]. Dostupné z: http://www.root.cz/serialy/historie-vyvoje-grafickehouzivatelskeho-rozhrani/
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Grafické uživatelské rozhraní. [online]. 2012 [cit. 201212-30]. Dostupné z: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafick%C3%A9_u% C5%B
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Textové uživatelské rozhraní. [on-line]. 2012 [cit.
2012-12-30]. Dostupné z: https://www.google.cz/?gws_rd=cr&ei=nprfUs_TMZL
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Příkazový řádek. Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie.
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Windows XP. [online]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-30].
Dostupné z: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Windows 7. [online]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-30].
Dostupné z: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Windows 8. [online]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-30].
Dostupné z: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_8
 Microsoft. Windows 8 [online]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-17]. Dostupné z WWW: <
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Mac OS X. [online]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-30]. Dostupné
 Mobilmania. Smarthphony. [online]. 2013 [cit. 2013-12-21]. Dostupné z:
 Android. [online]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-11]. Dostupné z: http://www.android.com/
 WindowsPhone.[online]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-11]. Dostupné z:
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Symbian OS [on-line]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-11].
Dostupné z: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian_OS
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Symbian Ltd. [on-line]. 2012 [cit. 2012-12-11].
Dostupné z: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbian_Ltd.
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. Android operační systém [online]. 3. 1. 2014 [cit.
2014-01-08]. Dostupné z: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_%28opera%C4%
 Zdnet: How android works big picture [online]. 28. 1. 2008 [cit. 2014-01-08]. - Dostupné
 Svetandroida. Smartphone. [online]. 2013 [cit. 2013-12-21]. Dostupné z:
 Wikipedie otevřená encyklopedie. iOS [online]. 6. 11. 2013 [cit. 2014-01-08]. Dostupné
 Root: Bezpečnost iOS a Android [online]. 14. 10. 2013 [cit. 2014-01-08]. Dostupné z:
 Blog.Applause: Android or ios [online]. 18. 4. 2013 [cit. 2014-01-08]. Dostupné z:
Reviewers: Doc. RNDr. Vladimír Homola, CSc., VŠB-TU Ostrava,
Doc. Ing. Vladimír Kebo, CSc., VŠB-TU Ostrava